“Mommy, no more phone!”
A little over a month ago, I heard my oldest son say these 4 words and they were a huge punch in the gut. I was recording him jumping in puddles. [That stuff is magic with grandparents.] But he didn’t care what I was doing, he just wanted me.
As I thought on that moment later that evening, I realized that for a long time I had been ignoring a still, small voice in my head because I didn’t want to admit the truth:
I was addicted to my phone.
Scrolling was my drug. And it was preventing me from being present in my own life. So I decided to take the plunge and implement a, “No Phone November.”
At the same time, I was reading through the book, Nothing to Prove, by Jennie Allen, and her words only cemented what I knew I needed to do:
“I watched my life instead of my phone, and I loved my life.”
So I began to watch my life instead of my screen and it made me so incredibly grateful for this amazing life I’d been given. I realized I’d been filling the quiet, still moments with scrolling, almost like white noise in the background of my life. But what I was missing out on was irreplaceable.
Watching my son discover something new.
Jumping in puddles WITH him, instead of recording him doing it by himself.
Smiling back at my 11-month-old instead of having a phone between us.
Watching my almost-three-year-old watch TV to see how he furrows his eyebrows to focus on certain parts and smiles at funny parts.
Sitting in silence with my husband, just enjoying each other’s presence.
Eating dinner together as a family, with our phones in the other room so there are no interruptions.
Discussing what was learned in Sunday School.
Prayers with my husband being the last thing we do before falling asleep, instead of looking through what other people were doing before bed.
Waking up and spending a few minutes stretching instead of scrolling through other people’s morning routine.
In the beginning, I honestly went through a slight withdrawal. I would grab my phone out of habit, only to realize I’d deleted my Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat apps, so there was nothing very exciting to look at on my phone. But after a time, I realized I was leaving my phone in places, sometimes not remembering where it was, as opposed to always having it in my hand or close enough to reach.
The funny thing is I didn’t miss Facebook at all and probably wouldn’t even bother with it anymore if it weren’t the sole form of communication for certain groups I am in or several family members that live far away. I missed Instagram, but thankfully, I had friends text me pictures they posted on social media, so I didn’t miss out on much.
This month-long break was SO refreshing and SO freeing. I appreciated a life that wasn’t tethered to a phone by an invisible string. I wasn’t dependent on it anymore. It was a form of communication, not a form of entertainment.
Not that I think there’s anything wrong with using your phone for entertainment or social media. I love social media, and when November was over, I installed Facebook and Instagram back on my phone. But I have done so in the hopes of them being something I OCCASIONALLY look at, not something that fills all the quiet moments of my life. And definitely not something my kids feel they have to compete with for my attention.
I hope to not find myself in the same addicted relationship with my phone again, but if I do, I know taking a break from social media is a healthy thing to do, and causes me to sit back and once more appreciate this beautiful life I live.
Have you ever taken a social media break? How did you experience it?